Amidst the delirious joy of seeing LeBron James and the Miami Heat get humiliated in the 2011 NBA Finals, we actually forgot something important: That means the Mavs won! So this is probably the first time ever that most basketball fans would rather give Mark Cuban a fist bump rather than a kick in the junk.
Anyway, one of our favorite infographic-poster companies, Chartball, is out with a new poster celebrating and dissecting the Mavs' charmed season.
[Click to view a larger version]
In the many graphs, you can pick out a number of story lines that defined the Mavs. For one, early on in the season, they were crippled by injuries to their star, Dirk Nowitzki. Those losses were soon compounded by other injuries, and by the time the team was healthy again, it was far too late to catch up to the division leaders. Thus, the real strength of the Mavs went unappreciated throughout the season. They were a dark horse in the playoffs, but one whose talents were camouflaged by their regular season record:
But maybe the most interesting facts about the Mavs is the radically different philosophy behind their roster -- especially when compared to the ridiculous Heat. Whereas those South Beach peacocks were defined by three youngsters in their prime, making prime dollars, the Mavs actually had only one player, Nowitzki, commanding a top salary. Granted, their total salary is astronomical, but this was spread among misfits and aging manques -- such as Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Jason Terry.
Granted, Terry and Kidd don't come cheap, but they're well off their money-making primes. That allowed the Mavs to spend Cuban's Internet millions on a deep rotation that was able to give the old fogies enough rest, and the youngsters such as JJ Barea enough playing time to really do damage:
All in all, this was a testament to luck, coaching, and smart player investments -- the trifecta required to win an NBA championship.
Good God, I hope we're not writing a post like this one about a Heat poster in 2012.
Click here to see a zoomable version, and to buy the poster for $43.